He comes back
A little pale, but no worse
For the wear and tear of being
Away, in another dimension,
For some twelve odd years. Now,
He knows everything
Is off the record. Things have changed
A lot and a little since he left
In early December 1980.
But he doesn’t think in those terms
Anymore. Where he’s been there is
No time, no dates to remember, no
Appointments to keep, no
Memory of a past or a present
At all. He pauses, for to some what to some might seem
A minute or two, on a city corner. He thinks
To himself that he hasn’t thought
To himself in a long, long, time,
And he knows there is no concern
About measurements. No dates—no time—no years.
These things used to cause him pain. The future
Is always happening for him.
So, once again, he finds himself
In New York City, beloved home
Away from home. City
Where he has always felt
Comfortable and safe. If a person could see
Him now and approach him, gently,
And if that person were to suggest murder,
He wouldn’t understand, nor would he
Consider the idea. He would swiftly dismiss
It as quickly as waving away the vague
Street clouds rising from city grids.
Lennon glances up to see
A sign, lights flashing
Through a crowd. He recognizes
A building. He thinks he has been
There before. He sees, but he can’t
Be seen. He likes that. It fits
His style—both, then and now. He checks
Around for a street name to remember
Where he might be. He believes
He knows where he is.
He smiles. He overhears people
Talking about Bob Dylan, and something
Seems to be going on here, but he “Doesn’t know
What it is.” He chuckles to himself. He is
The thin man. Everyone has come
To pay homage, to sing songs,
To celebrate old friends, and he too
Wants to pay his respect because he and Bob
Go way back to England days. Before Dylan
Was as he later became. Before electric
Guitar mania at Newport, before motorcycle nightmares,
Before guru love, before Berkeley in the 60’s, before
There ever was a Sgt. Pepper. Before…He thinks
Out like millions of dark sparrows. Lennon is confused.
He looks up to the ceiling and quickly to the stage.
He notices a bald-headed woman in the spotlight.
In an instant he realizes
She is the one feeding these birds. People whisper
Something about her inappropriate behavior
On national television. Lennon knows all about this.
He has made a similar gaff, several years ago.
He hardly ever uses memory this way anymore,
But he can’t help but recall a teen mag interview
And a statement he made
By mistake. It cost him
What the bald headed singer must pay
For herself. She is forced to run off
The stage in tears. He knows, all too well,
That kind of pain and its hurtful consequences.
It feels like he and Yoko
All over again, and he hates that evil
Feeling, but it has been a long time
Now, an all time off the record.
His attention is, again, diverted.
He now finds himself again in the cheap back
Balcony seats. He remembers Aunt Mimi, Liverpool,
Strawberry Fields, Julia, briefly in this moment, he remembers
The concert hall of late 1950’s Britain,
And the best he could ever afford
Were the cheap-cheap, faraway, backseats. Four guys
Seated nearby mention Eric Clapton’s names, and Lennon
One late summer night in Toronto, Canada. He,
On stage with long, long hair, dark full beard
Holding beautiful Yoko while young wired
“Slowhand” plays Holy Rock ‘N Roll.
The crowd grows
Pleasantly still and they gasp.
Stage left; he is attentive. He now senses loneliness
For the first time in a long time. He
Suddenly realizes this is why
He came here tonight. There
In a purple jacket, is a youthful long hair
With cherished, cherub smile. George
Harrison. Old dharma buddy who had made the journey
With John from Liddypool to Hamburg to 1962
New Year’s Decca audition
To the “toppermost of the poppermost” to America
To India to NYC, where Lennon’s drained blood
Would evaporate outside
72nd Street and Central Park West,
To forever. Tonight, young George is his wonderful
Friend. Lennon wants to tell George
Where he has been all these years,
But he doesn’t know
Where to begin anymore.
Lennon wants to climb up
Onto the stage and sing
In old harmony spirit, but
Tonight is for George to repay his debt
To Bob Dylan for coming to George’s aid
To help an old friend from Bangladesh to
Save his country, and Lennon stops
To meditate on the silly reasons why he refused to show that night to honor
His English brother’s request,
He remembers those different times
And those hard, different feelings
And they are all so difficult
To imagine anymore. George passionately sings.
Tonight his voice is like silk and honey
For Lennon’s dreamy heart. It is
At this point that Lennon decides
Not to visit anyone else
Tonight. He thinks it is best to walk away
And to love time for what it was
He wants to keep it all
Framed just that way. He is very happy
To see George up there shining
On and on. He is very please and fully satisfied.
He thinks that perhaps he might cry,
But he knows there are no more tears,
And, besides, nobody will ever know
That on a cool night
Through a mid-October wind,
John Lennon came back
To New York City to pay
His own kind of homage
To Bob Dylan.